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Old 12-01-2012, 11:10 AM
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Thumbs down RANT ALERT: the frustrations of a freshman

SO....

I started university this August and am going through exams now.
And honestly, this ONE semester alone I've felt more stress and more pressure than my 6 years in a specialized Science&Math school COMBINED. Not to mention every good study habit I've formulated over my past education doesn't apply or work anymore.

Does anyone have tips on surviving university?

I have one last exam and am contemplating TOTALLY just giving up and retaking it.

Bah humbug.

Mods please delete this if it's innapropriate
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:17 AM
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It's been a long time since I was in college, but I do remember it taking some time to really adjust to it. Take a deep breath, relax, and do your best. And then enjoy the break before the next semester begins!
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:22 AM
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It's been a long time for me too, but my first year of college was a rough transition academically as well. I went from getting straight As without even trying to having to figure out how to create good study habits and manage my time. I learned that you have to figure out each class individually. Each instructor will have a different style of teaching, a particular way of administering tests, etc. And, you have to figure out what works for each class. It can definitely be a challenge. But, I agree with Kate. Try to relax and just do the best you can in this moment. And, DEFINITELY enjoy your break!!!
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:37 AM
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I feel your pain! I know I had so much stress going on too - I eventually got used to the massive workload and realized that really studying was my life during that time. ENjoy your break and just try not to think about it till its time to start up again!
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:05 PM
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Go at it like you will your future career. Give it 8 hours of solid work a day and you should do fine. Pace your self, have a game plan for each class and each day and GO TO CLASS EVERYDAY! Get done in four years so that you have less loans to repay. Remember why you are there first and foremost but if you work hard and plan well you should be able to enjoy the experience.

Oh don't forget the study aids and sessions offered by most universities. Ask for help when you need it and form strong study groups that study not party.

I gave my son the same advice three years ago but he didn't listen very well and will go an extra year as a result. He regrets not listening now.

Have a great Christmas break.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:43 PM
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Sorry, this is long!
I am working on a master's and then my PhD. as well as being a TA for a stats class at the moment and can completely understand.

Here is the advice I give my students:
1. Get to know your professors or ask other students about the structure of the courses you are taking. If they have had the same prof, ask if they have reviews that helped them succeed and if they would be willing to share with you. I share reviews so that I get them in return! Ask what the tests were like!
2. I am not sure what your previous study habits are like, but the time commitment you will need to set aside each week is demanding. On average, a 3 hour course will demand 6-9 hours a week from you. I find the best way for students to stay caught up is to create reviews each week that can be used to study for the exams.

3. If you have any questions about the material, ask immediately before new concepts are introduced. This is really important as concepts build throughout the semester.

4. Begin to study for exams at least 8 days in advance. I know this sounds weird, but it helps. By studying ahead, you can focus on the concepts for shorter periods of time and with greater frequency. For example, I study for 20-30 minutes at a time, 5-6 times a day for 5-6 days. When I get to the 2 days before the exam, I have a pretty good grasp of the material and looking at the review only requires 10-15 minutes each day. I don't bother looking at it the day of the exam...I either know it or I don't at that point. There is research on this method of studying that indicates it is beneficial, our brains cannot remember the material that we see in the middle of those long study periods as well as the first/last few minutes of material we review.

5. lastly, get a group to help you study! Research supports the group study dynamic. You may not understand the way a concept was presented in class but your friend may be able to talk you through it in a different way.

Hang in there! Go and ask your prof for help if you need it... then enjoy your holiday!

By they way...which university in Sing?
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:10 PM
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It's been a long time for me too... and something I have no desire to do again... haha - so kudos for keeping at it!!

I always found that when you first start a major (i've started four different majors before picking one and going with it)... those intro level classes that you would think would be easy are a pain! One professor told me that they are weeding out classes... they take care of the ones that aren't serious to put in the time and energy that the rest of the major is going to need... and typically that first year you don't know your professors very well, etc. So stick too it and next semester will be better.

My hubby has been taking a class for his job this semester at the technical school and it was been a real frustration for him too... he is a certified professional engineer, graduated top honors from college years ago - and now taking this intro level network class at the tech - but for him it's not the material - it's how the teacher is handing the class... a couple kids whine about having to take a quiz close book and the teacher says it's okay to use the book to take the quiz or they push the test off to the next week.

Good Luck!!
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:32 PM
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I don't know how university works where you are, but if your professors or TAs offer office hours, go to them. Not only because it allows your professors to get to know you but I found they often gave out hints and/or complete answers for assignments during those sessions. My grades definitely improved once I figured that out.

The other thing is to make sure you actually go to class. I know it's tempting to skip since no one is really watching what you do but I learned it was a lot less work to drag myself to school for an hour of class than to try to get and interpret notes taken by some else. Oh and that would be my other tip - figure out how you really learn the material. For me that meant writing notes out by hand in class and again on flash cards or study guides later - the act of writing it in my own words was how I processed it - and study groups didn't work for me at all. But for you it might be different.

Hang in there! The first year is an adjustment for everyone.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:34 PM
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I'm not sure how old you are but I have experienced: the older you get, the harder it gets to study. I recently had to do some studying for a job interview and boy, it took me twice as long to get things into my head as in my college years! But I bet it can be trained. Set aside lots of time for it, study on the hours that you're on your best and plan, plan, plan. You can do it!
Hang in there and best of luck!
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:55 PM
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You will make it through this!!

Things I wish I knew my freshman year of college have already been listed above:

Get to know the professor in office hours
Get to know the good students in your classes and study with them.

It's hard and intimidating, but it's truly the way to succeed.

Oh, and don't slack off either. I never quite got that one until senior year after the years of panic attacks.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:18 AM
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THANKS EVERYONE! I'm glad I checked this page just before I was gonna head to bed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glumirk View Post
You will make it through this!!

Things I wish I knew my freshman year of college have already been listed above:

Get to know the professor in office hours
Get to know the good students in your classes and study with them.

It's hard and intimidating, but it's truly the way to succeed.

Oh, and don't slack off either. I never quite got that one until senior year after the years of panic attacks.
Thanks... I guess i started off really eager and then just died underneath the mid-term workload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freckles View Post
I'm not sure how old you are but I have experienced: the older you get, the harder it gets to study. I recently had to do some studying for a job interview and boy, it took me twice as long to get things into my head as in my college years! But I bet it can be trained. Set aside lots of time for it, study on the hours that you're on your best and plan, plan, plan. You can do it!
Hang in there and best of luck!
THANK YOUUU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nettio View Post
I don't know how university works where you are, but if your professors or TAs offer office hours, go to them. Not only because it allows your professors to get to know you but I found they often gave out hints and/or complete answers for assignments during those sessions. My grades definitely improved once I figured that out.

The other thing is to make sure you actually go to class. I know it's tempting to skip since no one is really watching what you do but I learned it was a lot less work to drag myself to school for an hour of class than to try to get and interpret notes taken by some else. Oh and that would be my other tip - figure out how you really learn the material. For me that meant writing notes out by hand in class and again on flash cards or study guides later - the act of writing it in my own words was how I processed it - and study groups didn't work for me at all. But for you it might be different.

Hang in there! The first year is an adjustment for everyone.
I stay on campus, so the only time I skipped class was to study for a test RIGHT after that class. Thank youuu for the

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaBee View Post
It's been a long time for me too... and something I have no desire to do again... haha - so kudos for keeping at it!!

I always found that when you first start a major (i've started four different majors before picking one and going with it)... those intro level classes that you would think would be easy are a pain! One professor told me that they are weeding out classes... they take care of the ones that aren't serious to put in the time and energy that the rest of the major is going to need... and typically that first year you don't know your professors very well, etc. So stick too it and next semester will be better.

My hubby has been taking a class for his job this semester at the technical school and it was been a real frustration for him too... he is a certified professional engineer, graduated top honors from college years ago - and now taking this intro level network class at the tech - but for him it's not the material - it's how the teacher is handing the class... a couple kids whine about having to take a quiz close book and the teacher says it's okay to use the book to take the quiz or they push the test off to the next week.

Good Luck!!
Hmmmm woah that sounds intense, the engineering thing. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgreenshield View Post
Sorry, this is long!
I am working on a master's and then my PhD. as well as being a TA for a stats class at the moment and can completely understand.

Here is the advice I give my students:
1. Get to know your professors or ask other students about the structure of the courses you are taking. If they have had the same prof, ask if they have reviews that helped them succeed and if they would be willing to share with you. I share reviews so that I get them in return! Ask what the tests were like!
2. I am not sure what your previous study habits are like, but the time commitment you will need to set aside each week is demanding. On average, a 3 hour course will demand 6-9 hours a week from you. I find the best way for students to stay caught up is to create reviews each week that can be used to study for the exams.

3. If you have any questions about the material, ask immediately before new concepts are introduced. This is really important as concepts build throughout the semester.

4. Begin to study for exams at least 8 days in advance. I know this sounds weird, but it helps. By studying ahead, you can focus on the concepts for shorter periods of time and with greater frequency. For example, I study for 20-30 minutes at a time, 5-6 times a day for 5-6 days. When I get to the 2 days before the exam, I have a pretty good grasp of the material and looking at the review only requires 10-15 minutes each day. I don't bother looking at it the day of the exam...I either know it or I don't at that point. There is research on this method of studying that indicates it is beneficial, our brains cannot remember the material that we see in the middle of those long study periods as well as the first/last few minutes of material we review.

5. lastly, get a group to help you study! Research supports the group study dynamic. You may not understand the way a concept was presented in class but your friend may be able to talk you through it in a different way.

Hang in there! Go and ask your prof for help if you need it... then enjoy your holiday!

By they way...which university in Sing?
Woah my gosh that was awesome! I WISH I READ ALL THIS AT THE START OF THE EXAMS. D:

My previous study habits were studying about a week in advance before a paper (if I can afford it). But I guess I really do have to keep up the daily revision. I started really feverishly til around midterms... then I got so tired I usually just hit the hay once I got back to my hall room.

But I don't really have a core group of friends that are in the same faculty, those I attend lectures with aren't the sort to want to study with people in the style I do =(

Anyway, I'm at NUS. Doing Lifescience. :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loriebug66 View Post
Go at it like you will your future career. Give it 8 hours of solid work a day and you should do fine. Pace your self, have a game plan for each class and each day and GO TO CLASS EVERYDAY! Get done in four years so that you have less loans to repay. Remember why you are there first and foremost but if you work hard and plan well you should be able to enjoy the experience.

Oh don't forget the study aids and sessions offered by most universities. Ask for help when you need it and form strong study groups that study not party.

I gave my son the same advice three years ago but he didn't listen very well and will go an extra year as a result. He regrets not listening now.

Have a great Christmas break.
I think I might have to drag an extra year too =( My parent's didn't go thru a full-time university education so didnt have many tips...
Thanks for the advice!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelley View Post
I feel your pain! I know I had so much stress going on too - I eventually got used to the massive workload and realized that really studying was my life during that time. ENjoy your break and just try not to think about it till its time to start up again!
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltarbox View Post
It's been a long time for me too, but my first year of college was a rough transition academically as well. I went from getting straight As without even trying to having to figure out how to create good study habits and manage my time. I learned that you have to figure out each class individually. Each instructor will have a different style of teaching, a particular way of administering tests, etc. And, you have to figure out what works for each class. It can definitely be a challenge. But, I agree with Kate. Try to relax and just do the best you can in this moment. And, DEFINITELY enjoy your break!!!
Hmmm seems like it's really a big leap for everyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by KateD View Post


It's been a long time since I was in college, but I do remember it taking some time to really adjust to it. Take a deep breath, relax, and do your best. And then enjoy the break before the next semester begins!

Thank you alllll!
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2012, 01:40 PM
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My daughter is 19 and in the middle of her junior year at the university, and she has surely had her fair share of frustration and struggles. There were times, especially during her freshman year that she wanted to toss in the towel and call it quits.... but then she realized, thankfully, that life would be even harder for her in the long run if she did that. We always just remind her that she just has to push forward for the 6 years (thats how long her schooling will be) and then that part will be over and she can 'live life' a little bit easier, or at least breath easier without the stress of midterms and finals, reports and projects.

She also has done as Nettio, up above, has mentioned... she goes to see her professors and/or their assistants. She has realized that even just a few minutes of one-on-one time getting some extra help has helped her tremendously. At her school they also have like a tutoring hall where you can go in there, for any subject, any time of the working day, and get assistance. She has learned this has helped as well because those 'kids' have been through what she has/is and have been able to give her some guidance and advice. She's made many friendships this way as well.

Hang in there, don't give up...remind yourself that it's hard, but it's even harder without an education. Push forward and ask for help when needed. You can do it, just keep your head on straight and stay focused :-)
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:46 PM
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I know you want to do well right away, but I'd try not to get too freaked out over the first semester (especially in the middle of exams). I think it takes everyone a while to adjust to a new type of learning and exams. Stay calm, study and do your best and then re-evaluate after the semester is over. It may not be as bad as you think since everyone is probably going through the same thing! When you get your grades, you can see how you did and what you need to improve moving forward.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:07 AM
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I am finishing my first semester of college next week and let me tell you I feel your pain! Between school, work and my family I feel like I'm being pulled apart. College would of been so much easier before I had kids. Not to mention one of my teachers completely changed how he wanted our research paper done (a paper he assigned in August) two weeks before it was due. So I went from 80% of the way done to having nothing done. I was like why would you change it now? We've been turning in drafts for months now and he just decides to change it now?
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